Car accidents across the country are blamed for deaths and serious injuries. Their causes are vast, but they can be categorized as either caused by human error or mechanical problems. Whichever the case, everything needs to get back to restore sanity on the roads. And efforts have been made towards that course.
One of the leading causes of car accidents is in no doubt, driving under the influence or commonly referred to as (DUI). Driving under the influence is the inspiration behind the slogan “do not drink and drive.” It is, however, essential to note that driving under the influence is not restricted to alcohol. It applies to any substance the can impair your thinking or decision making as a driver.
But when is DUI a felony? To get a better perspective of that question, you need first to understand what a felony is. A felony is defined as a crime considered more severe than a common misdemeanor. In simple terms, the question now becomes, when does DUI become a serious crime? Take a look at the following points;
- When there is a loss of life
If research facts from the national highway traffic safety administration are anything to go by. An estimated 37,133 lives were lost in car crashes in 2017, from that number 10,174 individuals lost their lives in cases involving drunk driving. When human life is lost, usually the full attention of the law is attracted. If you are found guilty, causing such a death through DUI, your offense is translated as a second-degree felony which attracts a jail term of 15 years.
- Driving under the influence more than once
To understand this point better, you have to understand the legal penalties that a first DUI case attracts. It is considered a misdemeanor offense usually attracting for lack of a better word lesser sentences such as;
- Drivers license suspension
- Community service
- Rehabilitation (if you have a problem)
- If you make it a habit
Having a history of driving under the influence can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. In some states, anything more than three DUI cases is considered a serious felony and will, in no doubt, attract a longer jail term.
- Violation of road rules
Driving under the influence and violating road rules means that you directly endanger the lives of other road users. If by bad luck that happens, it will mean that harsh penalties will apply to make sure that will not happen again in the future. It also plays a role in encouraging other drivers not to engage in such crimes or offenses.
- Going beyond the legally accepted bac
Bac means blood alcohol content, and this is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your blood. The acceptable amounts vary from state to state, though anything higher than 0.15 might be considered a felony. But how is it measured? Every 100ml of blood is checked for the amount of alcohol; this is usually measured in milligrams.
- Driving with kids
This will in no doubt elevate your case from a misdemeanor to a felony. Though the age that defines who qualifies to be termed as a child varies from state to state. It is essential to avoid driving under the influence, especially when your passengers are kids.